The works on this collection are drawn from two of the very first stereo LPs released by the L’Oiseau-Lyre sub-label of Decca. ‘Music of Handel’ was a 1958 album containing arias (recently reissued by Eloquence 482 4759) and this instrumental suite from Rodrigo, one of the composer’s early pre-London Italian operas, performed in Florence in 1707.
These quartets are Juilliard specialties, and anyone wanting to hear this music played with a near ideal combination of virtuosity and humanity need look no further. Carter's quartets are not for the musically faint of heart: they are uncompromisingly thorny, intricate pieces that require lots of intense, dedicated listening. Very few people doubt their seriousness–or even their claims to musical greatness–but just as few people enjoy listening to them. Perhaps this spectacular set will encourage the adventurous to give them a shot. They're worth the time.
If Saint-Saëns has been called the French Mendelssohn, in a curious turnabout, Joseph Rheinberger (1839?1901) might be called the German Saint-Saëns. Both composers were accomplished organists for whom the instrument played a major role in their professional careers. Both composers labored in the field of opera, neither, however?notwithstanding Saint-Saëns?s Samson et Dalila with much success. Both composers found their main calling in instrumental, chamber, and, in Saint-Saëns?s case, orchestral music.
Wolfgang Rihm is one of the world's most eminent and prolific composers. His works for violin and piano encompass almost his entire compositional career from Hekton in 1972 to the solo violin +œber die Linie VII in 2006. Each draws on a wide range of influences from folk-like moments embedded quotations and dazzlingly virtuosic episodes. They reflect the breadth of Rihm's various changing styles which are almost unique in today's music in marrying contemporary technique with emotionally powerful resonances.